2017 Charles “Charlie” Dickerson Sr was born in Hartsville in 1950. He lived his entire life in South Carolina, except when he was on active duty as a U.S Army helicopter pilot serving in Vietnam.
After Vietnam Charlie worked as a ramp agent at the Columbia Airport (CAE). Shortly thereafter he created BankAir.
BankAir was based on flying high-priority freight, legal documents, production line parts, human organs, and passengers. As the number of passengers increased, Charlie recognized the need for a commuter airline. He established BankAir Commuter in 1975, which became the first and longest-lived commuter airline in South Carolina’s history.
Charlie was more than a pilot. He managed a support structure that included fleet contract maintenance, aircraft refueling, pilot and mechanic training, aircraft replacement parts, and a full-service fixed base operation. He also gave back to his community and was instrumental in creating and supporting the Dickerson Children’s Center.
When he died in 2014, he had transformed himself from a young man returning from war to a successful chief executive officer of a charter and air cargo service with 72 pilots and 42 aircraft. Charlie was a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airline Transport Pilot, for Single and Multiengine Land Airplanes and a Commercial Pilot in Helicopters. He held FAA Airframe and Powerplant mechanic ratings, and was a FAA certificated Ground Instructor. His total flight hours exceeded 10,000.